Moving beyond optimism bias and strategic misrepresentation: An explanation for social infrastructure project cost overruns

Peter E.D. Love, David J. Edwards, Zahir Irani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Infrastructure projects regularly experience cost and schedule overruns. Research led by Flyvbjerg has suggested that misrepresentation and optimism bias are primary causes for overruns. While Flyvbjergs research has made a significant contribution to ameliorating understanding as to why economic infrastructure projects experience overruns, it does not adequately explain why this is the case for such social infrastructure. In addressing this shortcoming, case studies are used to determine the intermediary events and actions that contributed to project cost overruns. The pathogens, events, and actions that contributed to overruns are identified and analyzed. The analysis of the cases findings led to the propagation of a nomological framework for social infrastructure project overruns. Acknowledgment of the systemic pathogenic influences has enabled the establishment of an orthodoxy, which provides an impetus for addressing the issues needed to improve the performance of social infrastructure projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6032087
Pages (from-to)560-571
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Design errors
  • overruns
  • pathogens
  • social infrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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